Festivals are back! With COVID-19 restrictions loosening and circus re-emerging, artists and fans alike are eager to share their love for circus all over the globe. While some festivals may be either partly or fully online, there is a lot to see and do this summer. Whether you’re planning on celebrating circus arts at a cool new venue or from the comfort of your own home, there’s options for everyone. Let’s jump in.
When: June 24, 2021 –June 28, 2021
Where: Girona, Spain – In person
This in-person festival is the only international circus festival in Spain. It’s first nine editions brought in much success, with over 200,000 spectators. Styled after the famous circus festivals of Moscow and Monte Carlo, Gold Elephant 2021 will feature trapeze artists, clowns, acrobats, jugglers, and more. 18 attractions will be presented in a venue with as much distance and ventilation possible. In a tribute to all the recent canceled festivals, Gold Elephant 2021 has created a special edition titled “Festival of Festivals,” which will present winning numbers from other festivals around the world. This unique festival is demonstrating that the heartbeat of circus is still strong.
What: Alberta Circus Festival
When: June 25, 2021 – June 27, 2021
Where: Alberta, Canada – Online
The first ever Alberta Circus Festival is debuting online this June, bringing a fun blend of theatre and circus arts to the community. This festival is hosted by Firefly Theatre and Circus. The new festival is committed to the creation of a regional voice in contemporary circus. Over the course of three days, participants will enjoy shows, panels, and workshops. Headliners include hula hoop artist Kate Ryan and aerial silk artist Kadri Hansen. Christine Bouchard from En Piste and Tim Roberts from École de Cirque de Quebec will also appear as special guest for the panels and discussions. This festival will take place completely online. Their industry events are all free, and are aimed to encourage emerging artists and arts professionals.
What: Underbelly Festival
When: July 1, 2021 – September 26, 2021
Where: London, England – In person
Underbelly is set to take place in central London and will offer comedy, cabaret, and circus in a family-friendly environment. This outdoor, in-person festival will host a full program of live performances alongside great outdoor bars and street food. Underbelly Festival has been quite successful since its start in 2009, and is recognized as a London cultural icon. Its extensive program is known for being one of the most affordable in the country. The Underbelly family program includes circus show Hotel Paradiso from Guinness World Record holders, Lost in Translation. TuckShop returns to the festival with a new drag show, The Sickening 90s Drag Prom. Headliners include Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground.
When: July 8, 2021 – July 18, 2021
Where: Montréal, Canada – Hybrid
Founded in 2010, the Montréal Complètement Cirque Festival is returning to the city this summer. The 12th edition of this festival will be arriving to celebrate circus in all its forms in July, combining digital production with in-person performances. The well-known festival will feature seven different indoor and outdoor acts, as well as picnic “bubbles” and BBQ service. MCC is buzzing with excitement, and hopes to create a long-awaited reunion for circus lovers. Headliners include Cirque Barcode, Productions Kalabanté, FLIP Fabique, and more.
When: July 12, 2021 – July 23, 2021
Where: Birmingham, England – Hybrid
TILT 2021 will be a hybrid festival, offering performances and masterclasses both online and in person. The festival will last 2 weeks and feature aerial acts and physical theatre. Participants will have the opportunity to enjoy seminars and networking alongside industry professionals. Class choices include Chinese pole, aerial silks, and aerial rope. Performance highlights include Around the World in 80 Days and Scratch That! All shows will be streamed live from Birmingham. TILT was founded six years ago and focuses on creating an open environment for all ages, experience levels, and bodies.
When: August 6, 2021 – August 30, 2021
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland – Hybrid
This summer, Edinburgh is gearing up to welcome a three-week long burst of creative excitement. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is an open-access arts event committed to storytelling. What makes this festival unique is that it has no artistic director –the artists themselves control the shape of the program. From big name artists to performers just starting out, the festival caters to a wide array of audience tastes and will feature something for everyone. This year’s festival will be comprised of live in-person events that meet government safety guidelines, live online performances, and online on-demand shows that can be viewed at any time. The first shows of this festival will be available to book July 1st! In keeping with Fringe’s commitment to sustainability and public safety, the festival will be fully e-ticketed.
When: September 6, 2021 – September 12, 2021
Where: Michigan, United States – In person
Over the course of one week, participants will take part in an adult summer camp circus extravaganza. While camping in the Michigan woods, they will enjoy shows, workshops, networking, and circus dance parties. The festival will include three official workshops, pop-up work shops, communal meals, four circus performances, evening activities, and more. 3AM Circus will be included in the show lineup.
When: September 23, 2021 – September 26, 2021
Where: St. John’s, Newfoundland – In person
This festival roundup is a special one. After a long hiatus for the circus industry, the upcoming festival calendar is extra exciting. With all the circus shows and creative energy taking over this summer, there’s something for everyone. What circus event are you most excited for?
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Main image: Underbelly Festival